1975 – 1980
Although I studied for 5 years in Ms. Hagen’s class, from 1975-1980, and worked as a registrar in the front office, as Marlene Mancini’s assistant and did payroll and bookkeeping for the Studio, my first class at HB was with Herbert Berghof. As a new college graduate back in New York, fresh out of the Northwestern University theater department, my first meeting with him was unforgettable. Trembling, I introduced myself, Dan Schweid (my last name is Shaw now), and he drawled, in his lovely Viennese accent, “Are you related to Mark Schweid?” My jaw dropped and I said, “Yes, he was my grandfather.” Herbert proceeded to tell me that he and my grandfather were in a Theater Guild production together in the 1940s, of a play called “The Russian People,” an adaptation by Clifford Odets of a Russian play. He told me that one night, at the end of Act II, my grandfather forgot his dramatic closing line, and improvised something instead that left everyone on stage broken up with laughter as the curtain came down. Laughing with the memory, Herbert said, “Alright, you can be in my class, but we’ll see if you’re as good as your grandfather.” As thrilling as it was to be accepted into Herbert’s class, it was even more wonderful to learn that my grandfather, who was very ill as I grew up and whom I never really got to know, was an actor admired and remembered by the great Herbert Berghof.